Book Bloggers are an opinionated lot. When we find a trend in fiction that we love we talk about it to death until one day that love turns into dissatisfaction, the tide turns, and we start talking about how much we hate that trope. I guess that’s human nature but well, I hate it. Just because the newness has worn off doesn’t mean we should get rid of it. There are still many things to love!
THE LOVE TRIANGLE-
I’m not sure why this trope has become unpopular? There is nothing better than the exploration of a character seen through two people’s eyes. One of my favorite examples of this is….
This series is a favorite for so many people, yet it started out as a love triangle. Through Tamlin’s eyes we saw Feyre’s weaknesses and her fight to overcome them. Through Rhys’ eyes we saw her strength. Yes, Tamlin didn’t treat her very well, but without that plot point would we like Rhys as much as we do? Would we like them together? In fact, wouldn’t it be interesting if Tamlin overcame his ways and fought to recapture Feyre’s love? I’d almost like to see a return of the love triangle. It might bring a spark back into this now overwrought love story.
THE FAIRYTALE RE-TELLING
I’ll be the first to say that I am overwhelmed by the number of fairy-tale re-telling novels that were re-leased over the last couple of years. Some were not so good, but when one is written well, the fairy-tale re-telling is so much fun! I read quite a few last year but these two stood out because they were different.
The Wrath & The Dawn is a re-telling of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights. The prince marries and kills his princess every night until he marries Scheherazade and she keeps him up all night telling a story with a cliff hanger that keeps him coming back. The Wrath and the Dawn’s Shazi marries the prince for revenge, but falls in love. It’s full of intrigue, romance, and Renee Ahdieh’s beautiful prose.
Hunted is a re-telling of probably the most re-told story, Beauty and the Beast. What makes Meagan Spooner’s rendition different is that she mixes Russian folklore into the main story of Beauty and the Beast. It is beautifully told and Yeva is a strong heroine. Interestingly enough, both Yeva and Shazi from the Wrath and the Dawn, survive by telling stories, so maybe there is a touch of Scheherazade in Yeva as well!
Not to speak ill of fairy-tale re-tellings, but I have read plenty that did NOT hit the mark. But as with all novels, they are subjective and I’ve read plenty of reviews for those books I didn’t really care for where those readers were overjoyed with the outcome. That’s the beauty of reading, isn’t it?
THE HISTORICAL RE-TELLING
My discovery of this trend is pretty new and so far I am loving it. Admittedly, I know enough about history to think, ‘hmmm, this sounds familiar’ and then look it up. Wikipedia has become my best friend! I have just read two YA novels back to back that followed this trope that were done really well. My reviews are scheduled to post soon, but here’s a brief note on both.
The Dead Queen’s Club is the story of King Henry the VIII and his six wives, in a high school contemporary setting. Henry is a charismatic young man, popular, and has a steady stream of girlfriends. Two of whom are dead. Cleves, our protagonist, is his best friend and also one of his exes, who is determined to figure out who was responsible for his girlfriends deaths. Her voice is snarky and there are plenty of past and present cultural and historical references. It was a roller coaster ride and I really enjoyed my emotion sickness.
Set in Elizabethan England our heroine is a Catholic whose father was killed for his faith. Wanting revenge, she joins a treasonous plot to kill the queen. Little does she know, that play (written by Shakespeare -‘Twelfth Night’) was a plot to capture the assasin’s. I loved the historical references, the treasonous plot, and of course, Shakespeare.
HEROINE WITH POWERS THAT SAVE THE WORLD
Admittedly, this trope is usually found in YA fantasy novels, although I’d love to see a contemporary heroine have super powers and save the world. That could be a great twist! Admittedly, I have a soft spot for fantasy novels, and LOVE to root for the underdog. So, while many of you hate to love our heroine’s that save the world, if done well I find myself believing and rooting for them almost EVERY time. I’m a softy, I know! Here are a couple that struck the right chord.
Our heroine Britta is a Channeler and has developing magical powers. Through this two book series (well, there is a third but it’s unrelated to these main characters) we see Britta go from fearful of being discovered a Channeler, to solving the mystery of what happened to her father, finding her best friend and crush and absolving him of the crime, to saving the king. She doesn’t save the world, but through her actions she brings Channelers out in to the open, ending their persecution in her country. Oh! I should mention that these two books also use the Love triangle trope. It’s kind of minor, but does add some tension into Britta and Cohen’s relationship that was probably needed. That sub-plot would’ve been as dull as dishwater otherwise!
There are any number of other YA novels that use this trope, and actually combines the Love Triangle and Heroine with Super Powers tropes to success. The other one that jumps out at me is the following…
Yes, the Red Queen. Every book blogger who has read this series has an opinion. BUT, this first novel was very well done. A political thriller that pits those with common “red” blood against the elite, those with “silver” blood. Our heroine, red blooded Mare (God, I hate that name!), has the powers of a silver blood. She becomes the face of an uprising, the fixation of an evil King, and the lover of a fallen hero. This series has it’s ups and downs, but as a whole, Victoria Aveyard writes a spirited political thriller with a heroine that always sacrifices herself for the greater good. I haven’t yet read the last novel because King’s Cage kind of pissed me off, but it is overall a good series. Oh and I love Maven. You gotta love an evil Prince/King.
There are so many other YA trends and tropes that we book bloggers just love to love and love to hate. It depends on our mood, how many we’ve read in a row, and as always if the character and plot draw us in. In my opinion we shouldn’t be too quick to write off a book just because the trope has been overdone. There are still some GREAT books out there that we don’t want to miss, right?
What’s your favorite or most hated YA Trend or Trope? Or are you like me and secretly like them all? Let me know in the comments!
It’s time to confess. Yes, last year I was nominated to do the Christmas Song book tag and I, well, I didn’t do it. I know! Before I knew it was Valentine’s Day and I couldn’t do a Christmas tag for V-day could I? Guess what? It’s Christmas and I can finally do this totally fun book tag.
“You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”- Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.
I think love is too strong a word but you know it’s a problem when your villain is more interesting than the hero. In this case, I was really hoping Mare would choose to just run away with Maven. Come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one?
“All I Want for Christmas is You”- Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas Tree?
Mariana Zapata releases her own books on Amazon and has been promising this one for a few weeks now. I am constantly checking to see if it’s been loaded yet. It won’t be under the tree but it better be on my Kindle!
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”- Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.
Our main character always felt like the ugly sister, even though she was a twin (!). This book was funny, joyous, and even had a side love story. Really it was about accepting and seeing who you really are and can be. I loved this book!
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”- a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?
I’m going for a combo answer on this one. Stella and Michael were both really nice people but when they got together? They were VERY naughty!
“Frosty the Snowman”- Which book just melts your heart?
OK, not your typical melt your heart book, I know! Both Charles and Anna are werewolves. Charles, the enforcer, has a gruff and scary exterior, while Anna as the Omega is soft and sweet. As a couple we have seen Charles soften through his protectiveness of his mate, and Anna become more self confident through her relationship with Charles. It is a wonderful series and these two do melt my heart. While also distributing justice and solving mysteries. 😉
“Feliz Navidad”- Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.
Love and Gelato is a sweet YA novel that takes place in one of my favorite countries, Italy. This is a coming of age novel, and yes they eat a LOT of pasta and gelato. Yum!
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”-Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?
I haven’t read this one in years, but when I was little I loved Twas the Night Before Christmas. It really made the magic of Santa Claus come alive.
“Sleigh Ride”- Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with?
Can you imagine how magical your Christmas might be if you spent it with Mary Poppins? She is practically perfect in every way!
“Baby It’s Cold Outside”- Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?
I just can’t even. Nope. Not going to burn a book even if I didn’t like it!
“Do You Hear What I Hear?”- Which book do you think everyone should read?
If you don’t recognize the above picture from the movie, I am choosing the book The Princess Bride. It is a wonderful fairytale-fantasy novel with amazing characters. It’s funny, emotional, sweet, and romantic. It’s not just a book for women, I know men who have loved it too!
This was a really fun themed book tag! If you should choose, please consider yourself tagged! I want to see your answers, so please link it back to my blog.
I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. Have you read any of the books listed? What did you think of my answers?
It’s finally fall in Nashville! The leaves are starting to change, the weather has cooled and I’ve broken out my boots! LOL. The stores are filled with pumpkin spice everything and my favorite Salted Caramel Mocha is back at Starbucks. Yeah! A couple weeks ago, Kelly from Another Book in the Wall nominated me to take part in this fun Fall Reading Book tag. If you want to see how Kelly answered these questions, click the link below, but come back and read mine too! I should also mention that this tag was originally created by Bionic Bookworm.
The Tower is a YA Contemporary novel with hints of magical realism. I found the fact that the teens were witches fascinating. They are not “magical” and don’t ride brooms or hover in the air or anything, although they do read tarot cards, make spells, and can heal spiritually. Each of them having a different talent. These talents are just a part of their characterizations and while their spirituality is within the story, the story does not revolve around witchcraft. I found that really refreshing in a book world where people having magical powers and saving the world is totally common.
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews
The reason why I love this heroine so much is because even though she has this incredible power and could do and be pretty much anything she wants, she remains true throughout this series. She wants to have friends, love, and have a home with Curran. A home, not a castle, not as ruler, just as a woman wanting to be with her man. Magic Triumphs stretches Kate further than she’s ever been. As we have seen in the Oracles visions in past novels, Kate knows she will battle her father, Roland, which may cause her son or her husband Curran’s death. She will do absolutely ANYTHING to keep their deaths from happening. This was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful series.
Read my full review of Magic Triumphs – click HERE.
LEAF FIGHT / A BOOK WITH NON STOP ACTION
Edge of Truth (Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly
This novel started off quickly with a jail breakout and was running non stop until the end of the book. Did they defeat their enemies? You need to read this book to find out. I really enjoyed this story. Tess was her own brand of hero, finding a story and not giving up even though her own life came under fire. She and Flynn were not without their problems, but they were stronger together than they were apart. I liked their mix of brains and brawn that didn’t always fall down stereotypical lines.
COMFY SWEATERS / THE BOOK THAT GAVE YOU THE WARM AND FUZZY’S
Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid
This was a LOVE story full of trepidation, self awareness, and charm. It had a sweetness that was different than the other stories in this series. It didn’t have Duane and Jess’s sizzle, Jethro and Sienna’s humor, and Cletus and Jennifer’s oddity. It was singular in it’s own uniqueness and I enjoyed it a lot.
BRIGHT COLORS / A COVER WITH EITHER RED, ORANGE OR YELLOW
Why Stars Chase the Sun by C. R. Ellis
Both Emmet and Jade were truly nice people who’d had bad things happen to them in their previous relationships. The colors in the sunset above reflect fall perfectly, but they also represent that these two people are ready to find love again.
To read my review of Why Stars Chase the Sun click HERE.
PUMPKIN SPICE / YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED READ
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
I thought Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker series was innovative and wonderful. This new series will be very different as it sounds like it is an action adventure/science fiction novel. I have been lucky enough to receive an ARC and even though the book doesn’t come out until January 1st I will be starting this one soon!
I would like to tag the following people to join in this fun post! If you don’t have the time, don’t worry about it as this is meant to be fun, not a chore!
I’ve enjoyed following Megan and Lauren’s blog YA Bookers because we share a love for YA books. I also love a good fantasy novel and those book reviews always jump out at me and pull me back in to read. Their bookish discussions are so well written and you can tell that they are passionate about what they are saying! I must’ve been blind and dumb, but I didn’t realize that they were twins. TWO women who love books and can put their thoughts into words? Yes!! What a find! If you haven’t visited their blog, please do! The pretty graphics will be the first thing you notice, but what will keep you coming back is the thoughtful content. Visit their link below, but come back and read their interview!
Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?
We are twins, and we both live in not-so-sunny England.
What is the view outside your front door?
Just a plain old boring English street. A little dull and, obviously, bad weather.
Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.
I can’t say it is all that interesting. We were sixteen, just starting Sixth-Form (don’t ask me translate that into the American school system, it still confuses me) and we saw all these amazing book blogs on Tumblr and kind of just joined that community (booklr). It is only in the last two years that we moved our platform primarily onto Twitter and WordPress and found a whole new supportive bookish community! Obviously, being twins, we decided to venture into a shared passion together. We get sick of each other sometimes, but we get over it because we really love books and we really love blogging.
Describe where you write your blog.
A shared desk, where we can never get away from each other. Poorly thought out. JUST KIDDING. We love working side-by-side, jotting notes in our notebooks, and it makes blogging and twitter chats, such as #UKYAchat, run a lot smoother when you can communicate so easily.
Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?
Megan: My stack is actually pretty small at the moment. I started Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, which is a contemporary romance which I wasn’t really in the mood for. So then I started The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, a dystopia. It has been so long since I’ve read a dystopia read as they weren’t really in for a while. So far I am enjoying it. I’ve also got my Kindle there too, because I love reading on it and it is always handy having it close by where ever I go.
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.
The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.
Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.
Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.
Claire Kann’s debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.
Lauren: I usually read on my kindle because I get quite a bit of e-ARCs, but right now I’m actually caught up for once so I’m reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (three years after I finished the first one!). The other book in there is a signed ARC of Bloodleaf which I won in a giveaway, and it’s the next book on my TBR! I’m never one to have a big book stack because I’m a mood reader so I finish a book, and pick up one I’m in the mood for. I’m never one for planning my TBR (or planning anything, to be honest).
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
A roar of a dark and luscious epic fantasy that’s layered with heady romance, bloodthirsty magic, and ghostly intrigue—an absolutely wicked delight.Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?
If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?
Megan: I really love a good and well researched historical fiction. I’m a history graduate, so history has always been a passion of mine. I especially love historical fiction that feature angry and foul mouthed girls who go against the societial expectation of the time. One of my all time favourite books is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein which features a stubborn and arrogant scotswoman called Julie who has been captured by the Nazi’s in wartime France, and a female pilot called Maddie who would go to the ends of the earth for Julie. It’s a brilliantly written and researched book that really tugs on the heartstrings.
Lauren: I definitely love a good fantasy when I’m having a bad day. There’s something about immersing yourself in a completely new world when the one you live in is getting you down. I’m not really one for re-reading books, but Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst would definitely be one I would go back to after a long day.
When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?
We used to work in fast-food until recently when we were having a really bad day, enough of the long hours and bad pay and verbal abuse from customers and managers, and so we rage quit in solidarity with each other. So we are currently unemployed and looking for something better. But when we weren’t working or blogging we loved spending time with our niece and nephew, the literal light of our world.
What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?
Megan: One of my favourite blog posts I’ve written is ‘”Contemporary YA is dead”. Really?’ In terms of reviews though, my favourite review I’ve written is for Sadie by Courtney Summers, one of my all time favourite books.
Lauren: I love looking for new, upcoming releases, and they always get me excited for the year to come. My favourite post has definitely got to be our ‘2018 Highly Anticipated Releases’. I’m already collecting releases for my 2019 list!
Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?
Unfortunately, we live in the North of England where authors rarely venture up here. If we ever met an author, we have no idea what we would say, probably incoherent babble. We are determined though to eventually make our way to YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention, down in London.
If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?
Megan: I would love to meet and sit down with Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity. I’d love to ask her about her writing and historical research process for her book! In terms of cake, I think it would have to be a really good Victoria Sponge. Yum.
Lauren: Leigh Bardugo, for sure! I own all her books, and I love her Grishaverse. I’d have a million questions and so I wouldn’t be able to pick just one, but I would tell her to never stop writing! As for cake, I’d serve chocolate cake. Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake?!
These two ladies may be twins, but their reading (and cake!) tastes definitely differ! Although the separation between historical novels and fantasy novels seems to be shrinking in some YA novels. I need to check out their blog to see if one of them has read My Lady Jane and its sequel, books that are a definite mash- up of those two genres.
Doesn’t reading this interview make you even more curious about Megan and Lauren? I certainly am! It’s also abundantly clear why I follow these ladies. They are talented, well spoken, and truthful in their reviews and discussions. Qualities I admire in a blogger!
Do you follow YA Bookers? What surprised you the most?
Last year I set a fast and furious pace for myself. I was posting 3 reviews a week, had my Sunday Commentary post and filled in with a few bookish discussions, tags, etc. I religiously posted every other day. I did see my follows rise, but my energy level fell. To keep up that review pace I had to read 4 books a week, write religiously every weekend, and give up a little bit of my life. That second book I wanted to write kept getting pushed back as I slogged through trying to keep up the pace.
I didn’t want to quit blogging because I really love it! I just wanted to love other things too.
I know there are other bloggers out there who feel the same way I did, so I wanted to share a few things I did to get my life and my blogging back on track.
BACK OFF!– No! Not you guys! Me!! I needed to back down from this frantic pace I had set for myself. I backed down to two reviews a week (Tue and Fri) and made one of them my Friday YA post because a little YA just makes me happy. 🙂 I’ll confess, I do occasionally have three reviews in a week, but it’s usually because I have an Arc I forgot to read and review and I’ll throw one into my schedule to meet that due date.
Do you all do these Goodreads challenges? Well, I had set myself the challenge of reading 212 books this year. Ummm, not even close. I lowered it to 200 and am still 7 books behind schedule, so I’m just throwing this year out the window. 200 is NOT going to happen and I don’t know what I was thinking!
I had an AHA! moment- I wanted to show my fellow bloggers some love and approached a couple that I had admired to ask if they would answer a few questions in a new series I had been mulling over in my mind. They said yes, my Blogger to Blogger series was born. I really enjoy getting to know all of the bloggers in our universe and seeing how diverse we are! It’s a fun little series that seems to be taking off and brings joy to my little blog!
I walked my dog!- This seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it? But getting outside with my dog and my husband starts the day off right. I get to see the neighborhood, enjoy the weather, and get a goofy grin from my baby, Nash. Isn’t he adorable?
Be social! I”m lucky because I live in one of the best cities in the US for concerts, Nashville TN! My husband, who is my best friend and willing participant, has agreed that we must DO THINGS! So I’ve put the book down and started trying to get out of the house and do non bookish things. This helps so much! When I have time to relax and I relish getting back to that book instead of forcing myself to pick it up.
Maroon 5 concert
Salon@615 at the Nashville Library with Deborah Harkness talking about her newest novel in the Discovery of Witches series.
The hubs and I at an NFL Titans game.
What did I learn???
Having fun in life means having fun reading and writing again, and yeah, don’t over schedule myself…. that is no fun at all!
Do any of you have the same kinds of problems? What did you do to get yourself back on track?